Caruana leads at half-time in AAI International in Delhi

by ChessBase
6/27/2011 – India's first ever Category 17 tournament brings together some of the finest young international talents – amongst them four who have made the all-time top-25 list of chess prodigies. At half-time the players are all neatly arranged on the scoreboard according to their Elo rating. Top seed Fabiano Caruana leads with 4.0/5 and a 2900 performance. Big illustrated report.

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The Delhi Chess Association, along with Airport Authority of India, under aegis of All-India Chess Federation and the World Chess Federation are conducting India's first ever Category 17 chess tournament, a unique double round robin event with six grandmasters. The list of players headed by World Junior No. one GM Fabiano Caruana, while Women's World Champion GM Hou Yifan of China and the World's second youngest ever grandmaster Indian National Champion Parimarjan Negi add colour to the event. The other three in the fray are reigning World Open Champion and Czech No. two GM Viktor Laznicka, Indian No. two GM K Sasikiran, and Philippines No. one GM Wesley So.

The official poster of the event

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) was constituted by an Act of Parliament and came into being on 1st April 1995 by merging erstwhile National Airports Authority and International Airports Authority of India. The AAI manages 125 airports, which include 11 international airport, 8 customs airports, 81 domestic airports and 27 civil enclaves at defence airfields. During the year 2008- 09, the AAI handled aircraft movement of 1,306,532 planes, with passenger numbers totalling 44,262,137 Nos. and 499,418 tonnes of cargo.

The playing hall

Three very bright young talents: Fabiano Caruana, Parimarjan Negi and Hou Yifan

The event is a double round robin tournament with time controls of 40 moves in two hours, followed by 20 moves in one hour, followed by 15 minutes plus 30 seconds for all the remaining moves (40/2h, 20/1h, 15m+30sec/all). In case of tie at the end of the tournament, the following tie-breaking methods will be used: (a) Direct encounter; (b) Sonnenborn-Berger; (c) Number of won games; (d) Percentage with black (points/games with black pieces); (e) Armageddon playoff: the player who wins the drawing of lots may choose the colour, White receives six minutes on the clock and Black five minutes, without any increment. In the event of a draw, the player with the black pieces shall be declared the Champion.

Prizes: The money prizes are as follows: First: US $8000, second: $6000, third: $4000, fourth: $3000, fifth: $2000, sixth: $1500. All prizes are net and including local taxes for foreign players. All prize money will be divided equally where players have the same score in the tournament.


Day Date Time Programme
Mon. 20th June 2011   Arrival of Players
Tues. 21th June 2011 16:30 hrs Greet and meet of Players
Wed. 22nd June 2011 14:00 hrs Round 1
Thurs. 23rd June 2011 14:00 hrs Round 2
Fri. 24th June 2011 14:00 hrs Round 3
Sat. 25th June 2011 14:00 hrs Round 4
Sun. 26th June 2011 14:00 hrs Round 5
Mon. 27th June 2011 14:00 hrs Rest day, special sponsor event
Tues. 28th June 2011 14:00 hrs Round 6
Wed. 29th June 2011 14:00 hrs Round 7
Thurs. 30th June 2011 14:00 hrs Round 8
Fri. 1st July 2011 14:00 hrs Round 9
Sat. 2nd July 2011 11:00 hrs Round 10 & Closing Ceremony
Sun. 3rd July 2011   Departure

Round one: Top seed Caruana makes winning start; Sasi, Negi lose
The inaugural Airports Authority of India Grandmaster chess tournament got off to a rousing start, as all three games ended in a decisive manner at the AAI Officer’s Institute on Wednesday. The young and energetic field, with an average age of just over twenty years, but 2662 in Elo ratings, produced exciting games. The Indian duo, however, had a disappointing start with both Krishnan Saskiran (black) and Parimarjan Negi losing their games. Sasi (white) lost to Wesley So in 38 moves before the time control, while Negi went down to top seed and World Junior No. one, Fabiano Caruana in 47 moves. In the third game Viktor Laznicka (CZE) with black pieces was better placed against Hou Yifan (China) in a Caro-Kann Classical. After more than six hours and 65 moves he was able to take home the full point. Full report here.

Women's World Champion Hou Yifan during her 65-move game

Czech GM Viktor Laznicka telling the press about it

Round two: Negi trounces Yifan; Caruana and Laznicka share lead
Indian National Champion Parimarjan Negi got himself on the scoreboard with a convincing win over women’s world champion Hou Yifan of China, which came in 32 moves. Meanwhile top seed Fabiano Caruana of Italy and Czech champion, Viktor Laznicka scored their second successive wins, even as India’s Krishnan Saskiran suffered his second loss and Filipino Wesley So his first defeat. Sasi lost to Caruana in a complicated game lasting 45 moves and where both players were in time trouble at one time. Laznicka beat Wesley So in 39 moves just before the first time control and the winner described the result as “slightly lucky”. Full report here.

Second youngest GM in history: Parimarjan Negi, here in round two. Note that there
are four players in this event who have made our top-26 list of child prodigies.

Two losses in the first two rounds: Krishnan Sasikiran

Round three: Sasikiran scores first win; Caruana takes sole lead
India’s Krishnan Sasikiran ground it out for 72 moves before registering his first win over Viktor Laznicka of the Czech Republic. Fabiano Caruana maintained his winning streak with a third successive win, this one over Women’s World Champion, Hou Yifan of China, while Parimarjan Negi drew with Filipino Wesley So. Sasi, who had lost his first two games, played white in a Catalan Opening and for most of the game held an advantage. But Laznicka put up a spirited defense and hung in there for a long time. Laznicka was passive, but once he opened the position, he seemed to be creating weaknesses. Into the third time control, the Czech finally resigned and gave the Indian a well-deserved win. Full report here.

Three in a row for the world's strongest junior Fabiano Caruana

GM in the pool: Viktor Laznicka cools off in the hot New Delhi summer

Round four: Mixed luck for India; Sasi wins and Negi loses
It was mixed luck for the Indian fans as Krishnan Sasikiran won his second successive game, but National champion Parimarjan Negi lost his game on Saturday. For the second day running Sasi played out a marathon game before beating Hou Yifan to haul himself back into the tournament. But before that Negi lost to the higher rated Viktor Laznicka. In the first game to finish on Saturday, leader Fabiano Caruana drew with Filipino Wesley So in 32 moves. Full report here.

Philippines No. one Wesley So, here in round four of the AAI International

A second marathon game by Krishnan Sasikiran: it took him 66 moves to beat...

17-year-old Chinese GM Hou Yifan, who had yet to score in this event

Round five: Sasikiran beats Negi to grab third successive win; Caruana leads
Krishnan Sasikiran scored a third successive win and in the process avenged his recent loss at the hands of Parimarjan Negi in the inaugural AAI Grandmasters chess tournament that is now halfway through. In another game, Women’s World Champion Hou Yifan got her first score through a draw against Filipino Wesley So in 52 moves. A little later the third game between Caruana and Laznicka, which began in the Caro-Kann Advanced Variation, also ended in a draw in 59 moves. It was the first time a round had produced two draws. Overall only four games out of 15 have ended in draws in the first five days. Full report here.

In the lead at half-time, with a 2900 performance: top seed Fabiano Caruana

In second place second seed Viktor Laznicka, performing at a 2800+ level

Third seed Krishnan Sasikiran is now in third place (beginning to notice a pattern?)

Fourth seed in fourth place: Wesley So of the Philippines

Not doing too well: fifth seed Parimarjan Negi in a somewhat distant fifth place

Hou Yifan, sixth seed in sixth place,
only started to score in round five – watch out
for a big comeback in the second half of this tournament

Standings after the first half of the tournament:


The win to draw ratio is really extraordinary: of the fifteen games played so far

  • White won seven = 46.6%
  • Black won four = 26.7%
  • Drawn were four = 26.7%


The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 11 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.

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